Interview with 40 Points (Micah Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Andrew Kloppel, Tato Melgar)


Members of the band 40 points kindly agreed to answer some questions I e-mailed them, and their responses are below.

40 points is Micah Nelson, drums, Lukas Nelson, guitar and vocals, Tato Melgar, percussion, and Andrew Kloppel, bass.  These artists were originally part of the band Harmonic Tribe, and the cd they produced with that group is available at

The band has played several shows around Maui, where they all live including Charley’s saloon in Paia, and the Maui Music Festival 2006, among others.

40pts. is the first band to be signed by Pedernales Records, a new independent record label launched by Willie Nelson and music producer James Stroud.  Willie announced this latest project  last month, at the South by South West Music Festival in Austin, and 40 points played at the event.   Working with producer Stroud, 40 points is finishing up their debut album which will be released this summer.  They have samples of the album at their myspace site at, along with more information about the band, and pictures. 

The band will be opening for Willie Nelson on his summer tour from June 11th through August 2nd.  Visit their myspace space and hear some of their great tunes, and catch them this summer on tour with Willie, if you can!

LL:        How did you arrive at the name of your band: 40 points?

Micah:   40points…haha…well, Tato always has these weird little phrases that he comes up with…and last summer while touring with Harmonic Tribe, the common thing to say to someone on the tour bus when they did something righteous was “10 points!”..

Tato started all this…he said in school, his teachers would always give you “10 points” if you did something good, you know, like class credit…so he started yelling out “10 points!” all the time in his crazy Argentinian accent and so it stuck…by the end of the tour it was just like a regular thing…..almost like a sign of respect to get 10 points back then, but now its just something you hear all the anyway, we were trying to come up with a name for our band, and since there are four of us, my mom said we should be 40 points! …you know, like 10 points for each of us! and we are all putting in our 10 points into this band, each one of us is an essential ingredient in our sound..if one of us would missing, we would only be 30 points!..and thats just pathetic 🙁

LL:  How old are all of your band members?

Tato: Lukas – 18 • Tato – twenty….something.  •  Andrew – 17 • Micah – 16 and 3/4. 😉

LL:  How did you all meet; were you in highschool together?

Micah: Lukas and Andrew and I met in elementary school, which is about the same we met Tato actually, but he wasn’t in school with us…..he was already twenty-something at the time.

LL:  Why did you choose the instruments you play?

Tato (congas/percussion): I dont know, because I grew up with drummers. We would make drums with whatever; trash cans, cat skin, everything, ha ha.

Lukas (guitar): Because I felt it in my loins. 😀

Micah (drums): ….i’ve just always been fond of whacking round objects with sticks.

Andrew: Because we didn’t have a bass player. They forced me into it. I hated the bass….I still hate the bass….:)

LL:  Are you finished with school? Any plans for college at some point?

Lukas: Yeah…I wanna finish school. I might want to go to college somewhere in california.

Andrew: Yeah, I will be in college at…some point.

Micah: School is for Tractor Tree Trucks….DUH! {•_•}

LL: Do you still live in Hawaii and spend most of your time there?

Micah: yes.
Andrew: yes.
Lukas: yes.
Tato: si.

LL:  What do you do for fun, besides being in a band?

Tato: I’m working with horses, I take care of horses…I love living with nature, in the jungle…like huelo. dogs, animals, everything. EVERY-TING.

Lukas: I don’t have fun.  Fun is for girls.

Micah: I like to build little bow and arrows out of plastic straws and also use other different type breed kind of straws to build snorkel mask/eEEEeearrringgss sOmetiMeS…climb trees, stab shoes with sharpies…draw on anything and everything, including myself…and Katie Rose…..laugh…..COFFEE….hang out with everyone’s 5 year-old children at social gatherings, sniffing pinecones and battling helium balloons….listen to Music….terrify random tourists…dance like an idiot…..or a dying fish……Art….drive…..protest….get ALMOST arrested…do pushups…surf….run around everywhere…..drink yerba mate….whack round objects with sticks of course….other sTuFF….etc.

Andrew: I enjoy team sports…….soccer….baseball….and girlfriending.

LL:  Drums, congas/percussion;bass: guitar; How did you come up with this configuration, all this rhythm?

Tato: porque es lo que tenemos!

LL:  In what way is 40 points music different from Harmonic Tribe music?

Tato: When we are six, we have to play really reserved, now we are four and we are able to to play more; we have to. if we dont play more and are solid, there are holes and…and plus that singer, i mean he just SUCKs….haha.

Micah: …hahahaHaAhhHaA……Harmonic Tribe was a kickass band. It was kind of schizophrenic though; there were six radically different influences all mixed together. The first six songs on the album are each out of completely different genres it seems…which was great because it forced us to develop our dynamics and learn how to play as a band, instead of only focusing on what we are playing with our own instruments and not paying much attention to how those sounds are ultimately contributing to ‘The Sound’ as a whole, which is very important. Marty Dread really taught us alot about that. We each had to focus on whether what we were playing actually benefited the song or not, for it all to work right and fit together. I know that I can honestly say that Harmonic Tribe was one of the best learning experiences of my life so far, in terms of playing in a band….but now…..with 40 points, not only is there much more room for improvisation and to let our true influences shine through in our playing (since there are 4 of us now) but I think that we have the experience, skill, and dynamics to do it effectively and soulfully, thanks to our musical maturity during the Tribal times. We have more of a solid, recognizable sound, i think…mainly because we are more free to play what we feel, our minds are constantly wide open to new sounds and ideas…and the music that comes out of that is just more personal.

LL: When will your album be released? Do you have a title for it?

Micah: Early this summer…june/july. i believe ‘Tis to be self-titled: 40points!


LL:  Where did you record your album?

Tato: we started recording on maui, upcountry in Haiku, and now we’re finishing…..all over.

Micah: We recorded most of it in Haiku and then went to Austin texas to mix it… then james stroud the producer and Julian king the engineer came to Maui…Julian practically set up a protools studio in our living room where we did final overdub touches and stuff…. Electric Sadie-land Studios! ….(Sadie is our dog……………………and number 1 groupie….sexy, SEXY sadie…:)).

LL:  Will the album have material written by band members, covers, or both?

Lukas: both…mostly originals.

LL:  Led Zeppelin, the Dead, Hendrix, Beatles: pretty powerful influences from a quarter of a century ago. What is it about this music that appeals to you?

Lukas: the fact that it delves into each corner of your mind….it makes you feel a certain way…it has a message that promotes intellectual progress and love.

Micah: …i sometimes feel like i have nostalgia for an era that i didnt even live through..

Andrew: They were pioneers…laid a new foundation that we stand on today……(heh…..that sounded pretty damn PROFOUND if you ask me 😉 )

LL:  Will Willie sing on any of the songs on the new album with you?

Lukas: Yes…we wrote a song called “There Are No Words” together. Its a great song. Its a woooondeful, woooOOnderful song…ooooohhhhhhhhh…..

LL:  Any plans to make music video for the new album?

Micah: Yes. Tato is going to be riding a bike naked with a big blonde wig on blowing in the wind….its going to be INTENSE.

Lukas: I think we ought to make a video about raising awareness for the benefits of a good hearty breakfast.

Tato: Yeah. I wanna do some commercial video. with costumes and fancy pants.

Andrew: NO.

LL:  Have you always known you wanted to play/write music, or do you think about other careers?

Lukas: I’ve always wanted to…….to…..TO SIIINNGGG!!!!

Micah: NO! nope, STOP THAT. No SINGING. STOPPIT. We can’t have that. Sorry.

LL:  Did you think about signing with other labels before Pedernales was launched and you signed with them?

Micah: No.

Lukas: We didnt really think about any kind of record deals or anything like that.  We just played music cause we love to do made us feel good. and through the laws of attraction or whatever, the opportunities presented themselves..we are very lucky, but we did work very hard.

LL:  Willie really seems to enjoy acting. Haven’t seen Dukes of Hazzared Pre-quel yet, but heard that you were in it. Do you see acting in your future?

Micah: I dont know….no one that I know has been to my future yet who was able to report back to me what they saw….i’m still floating around in the present moment as of now…and now too…and Now….

Tato: Yeah! I was acting already when I was 9 years old. I do a couple short movies when I was young. and I want to do again, but I dont know if I can do it in Inglish, haha.

Lukas: If we want to pursue acting, and that becomes an opportunity, then maybe we’ll take advantage of it…

Andrew: I dont care much for the actor types…

LL: I read that Willie will play golf, run, bike when he is on the road. How do you guys spend your free time?

Andrew: Hooters mostly…..but for the food….for the food OF COURSE. HOH HOH HOH.

Micah: Last summer me and tato went bike riding like 3 miles away from the bus and his tire popped….that was a fun day…….

Tato: hah, yeah. we go and ride, and make some pushups, and have experience in every single town, try to meet the locals, and see how is life over there.

LL: What’s it like playing on stage with your dad? (We fans enjoy it so much, seeing you interact)

Andrew: My dad has never played on stage.

Micah: playing music with my family is the ultimate dream and i’m living it….what more could anyone ask for?

LL:  Willie said in an interview once that you boys were conceived on the bus. What’s life on the road been like for you?

Micah: For my dad, coming home is a vacation…his real home is the road, the bus….that’s where he spends most of his time anyway…  ..but Luke and I spent alot of our growing-up childhood times on the road with him…its like a home away from home. We both learned to walk while rolling down the highway on the bus…I started playing onstage with my dad when i was about 3 years old i think, playing the harmonica with Mickey Raphael, his harmonica player…but you know, then SCHOOL happened…but we recently started playing in his band during the summers, starting in 2003 I think it was…I was into drums/percussion already and Luke was really into the guitar, so we were just having fun and learning, just like we are now.

It’s a pretty strange life, traveling around the land inside a moving vessel for weeks, sometimes months at a time, each morning waking up in a completely different county or state, the days blending into each other…it can get pretty weird…disorienting sometimes…but the music always keeps you together..

LL:  Your mom is very attentive to you; what’s it like having her on tour with you? Is she your manager?

Micah: actually she’s our roadie. heeeee. 😛

Lukas: I love my mom.

LL:  What are your thoughts on digital recording versus analog recording?

Andrew: …Tell them that I think “we’re all still very new to doing our own recording and that as long as we can end up with a good finished sound, we’ll all be happy.”

Lukas: Andrew says to tell you that “He thinks we’re all still very new to doing our own recording and that as long as we can end up with a good finished sound, we’ll all be happy.”

Micah: ….ask Julian.

LL:  What’s in your ipods?

Lukas: I’ve never taken one apart before. ….waste of money.

Micah: i would imagine there are lots of circuits…

LL: What’s the last cd you purchased?

Micah: Explosions in the Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

Andrew: Would have been….Ziggy Marley – Love Is My Religion.

Lukas: The Band – Music From Big Pink

Tato: Afro Cubanizmo.

LL: What books are your reading right now?

Micah: The last book i read while driving 5 hours through bat country was “The Mission of Art” by Alex Grey. Now…. “Here, There, & Everywhere”, a book written by Geoff Emerick, the Beatles’ sound engineer.

Andrew: “The Bean Trees”, by Barbara Kingsolver.

Lukas: “All The Pretty Horses”, by Cormac McCarthy.

Tato: Right now i’m reading “The Mastery of Love”, a Tolteca Teaching, by Juan Migel Ruiz..

LL:  Is your MySpace the best place to keep in touch with news about 40 points, album release, tour information?

Micah: For now….Oi think weyeh gEWING tew make aey wibseight see–ewn, yess. BUTt Right now, YESSHHhh, our myspace is the best place…

Andrew: …..fight for your rights.

Lukas: Just….BELIEVE!

Andrew: …BELIEVE IN WHAT…..?



Andrew: You and your psycho babble bulls**t….

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